Styling yourself as a ‘pink pop princess’ in the year 2023 is pretty brave, given that months after the release of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie we still find ourselves in a cultural landscape dominated by fuschia, rollerblades and Dua Lipa. But Mara Liddle lives up to her self-proclaimed royalty in new track ‘All Over The Place’, a song that is clearly made for pop girlies everywhere by one of their own.
Clearly inspired by Charli XCX, Pinkpantheress, Shygirl and a hyperpop style, ‘All Over The Place’ at first might feel slightly out of balance- on my first listen I was confused as to why the vocal track is so quiet- but it’s just a matter of getting your ear in. There’s almost something reminiscent of beabadoobee’s early work, adding a pulsing beat to the bedroom production that Gen Z artists have trademarked thanks to coming of age in a pandemic, during which the only place to make music was literally your bedroom (‘All Over The Place’ was mixed using just iPhone speakers). Liddle’s debut EP has much more of a lo-fi pop feel to it, and it’s fun to see her new offerings building on this sound whilst bringing in new electronic elements.
‘All Over The Place’ is about change. Finishing university, not knowing where to go next, insecurity as you navigate old relationships that morph into something new as you age. Liddle sings about ‘late nights, bus rides’, pondering quietly what she was going to say ‘on the tip of my tongue, but it went away’. It’s an interesting paradox to write about all this uncertainty with such self-assuredness. This is life for many twenty-somethings right now, and that’s okay, despite the urge to manipulate an image for the internet or the people around you. Liddle describes convincing everyone that she’s ‘so carefree’ because that’s all she ‘wants them to see’; a pretty universal experience. The act of owning this uncertainty is an act of self-reflection, of an almost self-deprecating self-awareness that has become something of a Gen Z trademark. Liddle does it well.
This has been my first listen to any of Mara Liddle’s work, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to grips with her sound. There’s a clear intention to ‘All Over The Place’, and it fits wonderfully in with her last two singles, ‘Oversharing’ and ‘Facebook Official’, perhaps even the strongest of the three. Liddle has decided she is a ‘pink pop princess’ and has created the sound to match, pairing her funky electronic production with lyrics that reflect what it is to be a twenty-something in 2023. We all want to be mysterious and interesting, but instead we compulsively overshare on the internet; she gets it.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for her upcoming EP, and am interested to see where she takes her sound next. I would love for her to work on something slightly more polished, but this will come in time as she continues to develop her craft.